Health

More than 66,000 people have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Louisville as city officials now focus on completing the initial round of vaccinations for school personnel. 

Almost 10,000 educators have received a first vaccination as of Friday, including 6,600 Jefferson County Public Schools employees, said Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, interim medical director for the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. Hartlage expects the majority of elementary educators, both public and private, will receive their first shots by the end of the day Friday, she said. 

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio says vaccinations for public schools are ahead of schedule. He expects all JCPS employees will have had an opportunity to be vaccinated by Feb. 9, when central office staff — including Pollio — will receive their first dose.

Pollio intends to present a back-to-school plan before the school board in mid-February, he said. 

“This means that for our kids, we have a chance, we have a real strong chance of coming back to school, and we are really proud of that,” Pollio said. 

Ryan Van Velzer | wfpl.org

Fourth grade elementary school teacher Brandon Graves talks about receiving his first dose of vaccine on Jan. 29, 2021.

Brandon Graves, a fourth grade teacher at Byck Elementary, received his vaccination last week. He said the vaccinations are a great first step, and he looks forward to being back in the classroom. 

“There’s nothing like that face-to-face learning, so I’m excited to have students back,” he said. 

The Pace of Vaccinations 

In total, 66,290 people have received their first vaccination through health care providers and the LouVax site at Broadbent Arena, Hartlage said. Educators who missed their opportunity the first time will have another chance. 

“Regarding the teachers that are maybe changing their mind or missed their first opportunity, that list is being worked on. I can’t promise they’ll get in next week because I have 6,000 other people on the list, but we are working to get to them as soon as possible,” Hartlage said. 

Mayor Greg Fischer says the city doubled its output at Broadbent Arena in the first two weeks. Now in week four, the city was able to administer 7,000 vaccinations this week and expects to administer more than 8,000 next week, he said. 

The city has the ability to administer even more vaccinations but is limited by the available supply like other cities around the country, Fischer said.

“We’re optimistic with President Biden announcing a 16% increase in supply coming up,” he said. “We call that incremental improvement.” 

 

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Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.